And now, for a culinary stroll down memory lane! Every time my family celebrated a holiday with my dad's side of the family, my Aunt Gayle would make this DELICIOUS cheesy broccoli rice casserole dish. I cannot tell you what any of the main dishes or other side dishes were from any family gathering I have attended--but I can honestly say that I remember looking forward to eating that casserole every single year.
My sister has tried to contact my aunt for the recipe--and I know at one time, we did have it--but we lost our original copy, and my sister has yet to hear back from my aunt. So, I decided to track down a recipe that at least seemed close to see what I could accomplish. And so I give you: Broccoli Cheese Casserole. Note that I modified the ingredients to make the recipe resemble my aunt's version:
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then get your rice going. The package instructions of the rice will tell you to cook the cup of rice in 2 cups of water. Instead, I cooked mine in the can of chicken stock to give it more flavor. Following the package instructions, I brought the chicken stock and rice to a boil, then simmered it for about 12-13 minutes, until the liquid had been fully absorbed.
While the rice is cooking, chop your onion and saute until transparent in the tablespoon of butter. Pop your broccoli steamer bag into the microwave and cook according to package instructions (about 5.5 minutes).
Finally, mix it all together: the two half cans of soup, the cheez whiz, the milk, the onion, the rice, and the broccoli. Add salt and pepper as desired, then place in a 9 x 13 casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes (or until bubbly and slightly golden on top).
You might want to let it sit for a few minutes once it is out of the oven to allow the rice to absorb a bit more liquid (as you can see, the addition of the milk has the casserole looking a bit soupy below):
But after sitting out for a few minutes, the casserole thickens! Now, this recipe tasted VERY close to my aunt's, so I was very proud. However, it wasn't exact. If I were to make it again in the future, I would add more onion, cut back on the cheez whiz a bit, and just add a whole can of the mushroom soup instead of the half can of each. I might even add an extra half cup of rice, since it was so wonderfully creamy. Regardless, it was warm, cheesy, and delicious (my husband even went back for seconds, which is how I gauge the yumminess of any given recipe), and so I declare the recipe a success. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!